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February 1, 2008


How long has that been sitting there?

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Tanya: Untitled

“I told you to have my dinner ready, you stupid…


The corner of the nightstand sliced open her temple as she fell. Too numb to feel the cut, she sensed only the blood trickling down her cheek.

The next kick, perfectly aimed at her right kidney, knocked her blissfully out cold. When she came to, he had turned away.

She stayed silently on the floor, curled up, afraid to be seen, remembered. When she finally opened her eyes, the aluminum baseball bat, tucked behind the shoeboxes under the bed, was just inches from her bloody face. And she smiled.

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Jeff R.: The Meeting Place

There is a table, sitting in a dry gulch in Mojave Desert. The four legs are petrified wood, the table a round, flat piece of black volcanic rock. There are eighteen chips in the stone, each telling the tale of a careless, dramatic gesture made with mug in hand.

Once, about every fifty years, a freak storm sends enough water to fill the creek-bed to a couple inches depth. That is when they meet, and decide important things, like earthquakes and snowfalls and who will find their one true love.

They have been meeting since the first lie was told.

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Jim: The Tour Group

The tour guide smiled at the elderly matron. “That’s a very good question, Madam,” he said. Then he turned to the group and waved a hand toward the monolithic stones behind him. “While many people believe that Stonehenge was built by Iron Age Druids, archeologists have shown that the circle predates that ancient religion. Modern carbon-dating techniques of the wood used to shore the stones into place show that actual construction began…”

The woman was about to interrupt the droning guide but, sadly, the squatting pixie she’d seen grinning impishly from the top of the closest stone was already gone.

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David: Not Meant To Know


“That thing, right there.”

“Oh, that. Huh. That’s funny. I walk past here every day, and I don’t think I’ve ever noticed that before.”

“Noticed what?”

“That thing.”

“What, this thing? What is that thing? How long has that been there?”

“How long has what been where?”

“This thing that I have my hand on. It looks old. Don’t you think it looks old?”

“Don’t I think what looks old?”


“You asked me if something looked old.”

“I did, didn’t I? What was I talking about?”

“Beats me. I hate when that happens.”

“Hey, look at that thing.”

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Sealyon: Norman, Is That You?

It had been a long time since he'd had anyone at the house, let alone a girl. He nervously straightened the living room. He peered out the curtains repeatedly. Finally, a car pulled up.

"She's here!" he called into the dining room. He tripped over himself getting to the door.

"Um, hi. You're here!" he smiled shyly.

"Hi!" She smiled big. "Cute place you've got here."

"Thanks. My mom's the decorator. Hey, why don't you meet her before we leave?"


As they walked into the dining room, the smell hit her.

"Wha…? How long has she been like that?"

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Stacy: Fertilizer

“Is that…one of them?”

“Indeed. The Inxyi are telepathic, you see, their supraorbital process is completely fused with their zygomatic bone…they haven’t any optic foramen at all!”

“But why is that one still there? It’s obviously dead, shouldn’t they be removing the body?”

“I was getting to that… As I was saying, the Inxyi are completely telepathic, with only a vestigial sense of smell and touch, no sight whatsoever. So when one of them dies, it literally ceases to exist for the others.”


“It’s just their way. And you won’t find richer soil in the entire system.”

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LJ: Hoo, Me?

"Hail the giver of life!"

"Who said that?"

"We," said the voice in my head. "We who you let flourish, free of our cold prison. Thanks to you, we have evolved and become self-aware!"

I looked around for the source of the voice without luck.

"Now we have so many questions, oh giver of life. What are we to believe? What is truth? What is our purpose? Should we worship you, oh provider of consciousness? Or should we make God in our own image...?"

I dumped the YooHoo from three weeks ago down the sink, and the voices abruptly stopped.

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Michele: Always

Lila has been on the couch for more days than I remember.

I give her a blanket and play those Meg Ryan movies she loves so much. I sit next to her doing crossword puzzles while the movies play.

She smells a bit funny. I lean down and say "Honey, you should take a shower, you really stink." Haha.

Maybe that's not so funny.

Tom Hanks kisses Meg on top of the Empire State building and I gently touch Lila's face. My fingers sink into her rotting flesh.

She's still beautiful. She will always be.

She will always be mine.

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Ted: Ill Gotten

Jack looked again, emotionally unconvinced. The enormity of his find shook him to the core.

No more would he have to worry about the mortgage, or the kids college, or even Magda's doctor visits. He had found it.

When Phillips Petroleum surveyed out here in the twenties, they capped the proving hole because the volume to cost ratio was too low.

But now that oil was up to a hundred bucks a barrel, maybe it could be worth pumping.

He reached to touch the semi-buried pipe stub and was bitten by a rattlesnake.

The oil would wait another eighty years.

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Dave: A full house

The voice over the phone was muffled, distorted. "The topic," it -- she? -- said. "It's been sitting there since Friday."

"What --?"

"The topic has been waiting for you. You're the the only one left."


"We know where you live. You don't want us to visit."

I was quiet for several long moments. "What do you want?"

"Your response to the topic." A chuckle. "Some say if everyone responds, it will bring about the Last Days."

"Are you sure?"

"No. But you can be sure of the consequences if you do nothing."

I sighed. "I'll post right away."

"I look forward to it. Good night."

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